Clean Living with Coach Jane: Thrive Through Menopause

by JANE BURNETTE IG @coachjanebb FB janedanielinhc

Women are considered menopausal when they have gone one full year without a menstrual cycle. The age range is anywhere from age 45-55 years old. Sex hormones estrogen and progesterone go back to pre-pubescent years of life. Like the days leading up to your period, menopause can be an excellent barometer on how you have lived your life. 

In this age and phase of life, women tend to be more established in their careers, they may be empty nesters, and they could potentially be caring for their parents. This next chapter brings greater wisdom and less concern for things that don’t really matter.

I want to discuss some of the common complaints of menopause, what to do about them, and how to embrace this second spring in a woman’s life!

First, let’s discuss common complaints and issues that arise as hormones shift.

1-Hot flashes

This is a big complaint that usually causes issues with sleep. If you suffer from intense hot flashes, this can be a sign of insulin resistance. Estrogen levels significantly decline in menopause and estrogen helps keep us more insulin sensitive. 

2-Increased belly fat

Excess cortisol, our stress hormone, tends to cause our body shape to change. We may notice a thicker waistline than what we had in our 20s. Estrogen and progesterone are antagonists to cortisol and when we don’t have them balancing out cortisol, it seems like almost overnight we are buying a larger size pair of jeans. In addition, elevated cortisol makes us crave more starchy, sugary carbs. This can also cause weight gain.

3-Disrupted sleep

As mentioned above, hot flashes can disrupt sleep for ladies in menopause. The good news is, when we reduce hot flashes, sleep improves!

4-Decline in brain function

When estrogen decreases, women report issues with cognitive function. You may walk into a room and forget why you were there, can’t remember the name of an acquaintance you have known for years, or have increased your sticky note reminders. Again, the decline in estrogen plays a role here.

5-High cholesterol

Cholesterol is a precursor to all of your sex hormones. When the ovaries stop cranking out the majority of sex hormones, cholesterol can increase. Don’t get on a statin just yet! Try the following lifestyle modifications to see if you can naturally reduce cholesterol and the “bad” LDL number.

Now for TWO ways to improve symptoms associated with menopause and how you can look and feel your best through menopause and beyond! The following lifestyle and behavior modifications work in tandem to improve all of the above!

1-Improve insulin sensitivity

Follow a high protein, healthy fats, and low carb diet. Get the majority of your carbohydrates from: colorful above ground vegetables, low sugar fruits (i.e. all variety of berries), healthy fats that come from olive oil, avocados, coconut, and nuts and seeds, and high quality proteins preferable grass-fed meats, wild caught fish, and plants high in protein (i.e., organic soy and lentils). Protein should be emphasized to prevent muscle loss leading to sarcopenia. 

Reduce your eating window to 8 hours a few days a week. As you get off the blood sugar roller coaster of needing carbs every few hours by prioritizing protein and healthy fats, this gets easier. Ketones, an alternative source of fuel, take over which has been shown to be beneficial in enhancing brain function.

Consume at least 80% of your diet from whole foods sources. Eat 20% or less from foods in a box, package or bag with multiple ingredients. Not only will this help you to be insulin sensitive again, but it also improves hypertension and reduces LDL.

You should notice hot flashes decrease in frequency allowing you to get a good night of sleep!

2-Move often and lift heavy

Leisurely walking, preferably outside, will help reduce cortisol and get rid of what has been called, “menopausal belly.” Aim to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. Incorporate some resistance training into your weekly routine. Resistance training will help improve the insulin response while adding or holding on to muscle mass. Exercise of all kinds is an incredible preventative to cognitive decline.

Following these simple (not necessarily easy at first) tips will improve all health markers, allowing you to thrive through menopause! I love this quote from Kim Cattrall, “I see menopause as the start of the next fabulous phase of life as a woman.”

A little about me:

Who am I?

Hi! My name is Jane Burnette. I am a proud mom to three healthy boys, a lover of the great outdoors, a forever student, health nut, exercise enthusiast and native of the Triad. I am also a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

What do I do?

I am a holistic health coach with multiple certifications in all things related to health, nutrition and exercise. In 2015, I received my first certification as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. I haven’t stopped taking classes since then and hope I never will! The areas I’m most passionate about are my trainings in Ayurveda, Polyvagal Theory, Female Hormone Optimization and Weight Loss, and most recently the Journey of Intrinsic Health. All of these have one thing in common; the body has the ability to heal itself if we allow it to do so.


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